The most common type of diabetes among Hispanics is type 2 diabetes, but many children and young adults are often diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. Now, scientists are about to begin testing a vaccine that may potentially reverse the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, which is great news.
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With type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin, which is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other foods into the energy you need.
The vaccine is called the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) and when it was tested on mice, it showed to reverse the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. It was also tested on a small group of 100 humans and showed promising results.
Researchers say that the BCG vaccine works by increasing levels of the tumor necrosis factor in the body and in type 1 diabetes, the high tumor necrosis factor levels appear to reduce abnormal white blood cells for the related autoimmunity, as well as stimulate production of the protective regulatory T cells.
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The new trial will last five years and will focus on 150 people ages 18 through 60. They will receive 2 injections of either the vaccine or a placebo, 2 weeks apart. Then they will receive one injection once a year, for the following 4 years. As the study advances, the subjects will need blood tests every 2 weeks, but then as time passes by they will do the blood tests every 6 months, then yearly to monitor the long-term progress.
The BCG vaccine is already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it is used for tuberculosis, various cancer treatments, and ulcers. Since this is a vaccine that is used as treatment for these other diseases, it shows a lot of promise.